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MCAT 33+ What Prep Materials Did You Use???

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by sng33, May 25, 2002.

  1. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member
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    For those of you who were fortunate enough to score 33+, what prep materials did you use. If you could break it down by each section (bio, verbal, physical) and types of practice tests.
     
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  3. laviddee

    laviddee Senior Member
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    UPDATE: I now have my scores: v-12 p-13 b-13 R

    __________________________________________________
    Well i didn't get my scores yet, but on every practice test I took, i somehow pulled scores of 35 and higher.
    what helped me out alot were the kaplan books on the materials- for the sciences.
    but what helped me the most on physics was the book by NOVA.
    NOVA's Mcat PHysics book. Tons of great problems and they go over every review of physics--- i read some other reviews of this book from other people who bought it and one person wrote how it boosted her score from a 9 to a 12.

    I also checked out mcat review books at the libray and copied all the full length practice exams. I'd use them to pinpoint any locations i had difficulty in. For genchem, I also went to the library and checked out college text books and worked through all the examples in the areas where i had problems.

    I worked part time as well.. the job was about a 45 min commute each way, so I also bought the examkrackers audio osmosis audio cds where I listened to subjects in the car. I never wrote anything down i learned from there.. but it always reinforced soemthing i learned and hearing it rather than just reading it probably makes it stick a bit better in your head.

    what i didn't like:
    kaplan verbal prep- i don't agree with the skipping around passages and organizing. It's just a waste of time. Fastest way to go through the verbal section is to start from beginning to end and don't mark up everything either. Trust that your brain absorbed it the first time you read it.

    Examkrackers 1001 questions: there are way too many questions and they arent' even similar to the mcat style.. they are kind of nit picky and the explanations only give maybe 2 lines of text. I think these questions provide only unnecessary stress and it actually takes time away from solidifying concepts that are definitely going to be on the mcat.

    Kaplan Notecards: aren't worth it. Tests such basic knowledge ... just use this as a review rather than as the basis for what will take you to a 38. Definitely don't fall into thinking that b/c you know every single answer on those flash cards you're all set.

    NOVA'S GEN CHEM- not enough problems and nowhere near as good as their PHysics prep.

    MUST HAVES:
    NOVA'S MCAT PHYSICS BOOK
    KAPLAN SCIENCE BOOKS- their MCAT Comprehensive Review has everything that the main course books have- except the review questions at the end of each chapter.

    Maybe get- Peterson's Verbal Reasoning Review-- has alot of passages and has some helpful tips of what to look for... and what question types to look for...

    Also while i was going through the kaplan stuff-- i wrote everything out.. and drew everything out. Every diagram- i'd draw on a dry erase board and label every part and how they interact. I'd erase it and write it again... and again and again.
    Keep writing out everything.. all the hormones.. where they're made.. what they do.. do it repeatedly.

    bottom line: work your butt off.. and you will easily get over a 33.

    well those are my suggestions for now... i only hope that my score to come reflects the amount of work i put into it. good luck to you!
     
  4. toblerone

    toblerone Junior Member
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    Hi there,

    I didn't take any prep courses (I'd heard that the greatest benefit in taking them was that they helped you to study regularly). Instead, I just bought the Kaplan course material books off of a friend to use as a framework to study from.

    However, the best study aid was the official MCAT practice tests. I used to work as an SAT tutor and believe that the only practice tests that really matter (for any standardized test) are the official ones. I started by taking a practice MCAT without any studying just to gauge my improvement on subsequent tests. And then I would study the Kaplan materials and take another practice test and kept going until I was satisfied with my scores and consistent with them. Then all you have to do is sit down for the real one and do just as well as you did on the practice tests.

    For Verbal, if you feel you need more practice, I would even suggest using the verbal sections from other standardized tests, GRE, LSAT, GMAT. Basically, all of these just test reading comprehension and if you do well on the verbal sections of these tests, there's no reason to think that you won't do well on the MCAT verbal.

    What also seemed to help me was advanced classes in Biology, specifically Cell Biology. I got a 9 biology before I took Cell Biology and got a 13 afterwards.

    The other important thing is to practice taking the ENTIRE MCAT -- endurance does kind of play a role. The first time I took it, I did well in the earlier sections (the same as my practice scores) but really lost concentration on the last one (which might explain the 9).

    I ended up getting V:12, P:12, B:13 -- but it didn't help get into a top 50 ranked school.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. El Jefe

    El Jefe The Jefe
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    I just took the Kaplan class, and stayed on pace with their lessons, and did all the practice tests and as many of the practice items as possible. I didn't do anything special for any of the sections, just what Kaplan told me to do. I scored between 32 and 36 on the full-length practices and hit 37 on the real thing.
     
  6. Dave409

    Dave409 Junior Member

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    If you're a science major, you won't need extensive preparation like an art history major might. That said, I just read one Kaplan book a week for the month before the test. It seemed to work out fairly well. I'm not sure the classes will make that much a difference. Because it can still be 1-2 months before the test that you get a lesson, and you might forget it anyway. So, get the kaplan books and study on your own pacing, but not TOO far ahead of the test. Also, make sure to take the test as soon as possible after completing your premed classes. What i mean is, don't take it if you haven't had physics, bio and organic yet. But immediately after!
     
  7. seaturtle112

    seaturtle112 Member
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    toblerone, thanks for responding. i just have a question. you got an UNBELIEVEABLE MCAT score. serious kudos to you man. and i saw in your profile you're in grad school. so am i. why do you think you didn't get into any of the top fify schools you applied to? stories like yours always discourage me a little. :(

    did you get interviews? where did you want to go?
    are you content now with how its all worked out?

    sorry if all this is a little pushy or nosy or whatever. i'd just like hear from those who have been through this crazy process before and what advice they might have if they were to do it all over again. thanks!
     
  8. Jalby

    Jalby I fight crime at day when Batman are sleeping.
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    If you want to score really high on the MCAT, I would recommend using Berkeley reviews science books. Their verbal is terrible, but their sciences cover everything. The problem with the sciences is, they actually do cover everything. It's more in depth than some of the biochemistry I've taught. But on the MCAT I got questions like what is another name for an epoxide, and berkely review was the only book that had that info in it.
     
  9. SeeGulz

    SeeGulz Senior Member
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    I found flash cards very useful. I didn't learn anything new from them, but that wasn't the point. The MCAT covers a vast amount of information, and by the time you have your biology (for example) down, the physics you studied a month ago might have grown rusty. Flashcards every 1-3 days are a good way to keep the basic concepts in mind. I bought the "MCAT Made Easy" cards off the net, but I also made my own from review books. Making your own cards is tedious, but it is worth it if you have the time.

    For certain concepts that took awhile to gel, I used 4 large dry erase boards to provide constant reminders.

    Finally, I also found the Kaplan topical exams helpful. I didn't take the course, but instead looked on Ebay. You can find flashcards on Ebay too. Note that the topical exam questions are harder than the typical MCAT question, so if you use them, don't get discouraged.

    Good Luck!
     
  10. pocwana

    pocwana MD/MBA candidate c/o 2008
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    for april 2001 mcat, from dec 2000 to early april 2001 i read Kaplan MCAT Comprehensive Review with Cdrom about 4x/week for about 2-3 hours. did their questions at the end of the sections.
    purchased all available aamc mcat tests and took them all once. on saturdays, i sat down with my timer and said, NO ONE bug me.
    after i took the tests, i went back and redid the verbal of the practice aamc, a weakpoint of mine.

    i had already taken most premed requisite courses, was studying o-chem in winter (just before mcat) and took biochem the next quarter.
    final score: 11,11,12. not stellar, but good enough to make me glad i didn't waste $1400 that i didn't have on a prep course.

    good luck.
     
  11. paean

    paean Senior Member
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    13-15V, 12P, R, 13B.

    Berkeley-Review.com to order books. I went from a 6 on the verbal my first two tests to a 12-15 by the end, and 8s on the science sections to 12-15s on practice tests, and the MCAT reflected those scores. I thought their verbal was great, and the sciences were more comprehensive than anyone else's. I spent a lot of time studying for three months, but it was worth it. And the more in depth science studying than most prep materials makes me feel a lot more confidant about my background for med school.
     
  12. TommyGunn04

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    36R (11V, 13PS, 12BS)

    I'm like El Jefe; I just did what Kaplan told us to do! And I never scored higher than a 31 on any of Kaplan's full-lengths. I basically did every single one of Kaplan's tests (with the exception of the crappy AAMC materials they basically tell you not to bother with), and I went to every class. And once the MCAT was only a few weeks away, I started spending quite a few hours a day at the center, doing pracgice tests and re-doing tests I'd had trouble with.
     
  13. lady bug

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    thanks for posting this sng33. It is very helpful. I was actually gonna post a thread with the same topic tonight. We're on the same brainwave.... :)
     
  14. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member
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    Thanks for the responses this is very helpful, keep em coming. If you could also post your preperation time such as 8 weeks, 10 weeks, that would even give us further insight. Even though I am well aware that everyone need differing amounts of time to get familiarized with the material.
     
  15. Fluffy

    Fluffy Member
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    I got a 14PS 13BS 10VR M

    Took Princeton Review and did what they said. Just went to class and did some of the HW, but didn't study until the last 2 weeks before the real test. My practice MCATs improved from an 18 to a 37 on the practices, and a 37 is what I got on the real one. So, I feel like it's a realistic and valuable course. My friends who took both Kaplan and PR said that PR is much better. Good luck!!!
     
  16. lady bug

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    Are any of ya'll familiar with the Flowers and Silver book? Any reviews on it?
     
  17. SeeGulz

    SeeGulz Senior Member
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    I believe the Flower's and Silver book was once known as The Betz Guide, and now it goes by a more generic name (Complete Prep. for the MCAT, or something to that effect). I used it in addition to Kaplan's review book and thought it a valuable reinforcement. It covered certain things not dealt with in the Kaplan book, and it has a math review and sections devoted to problem solving in general. Most beneficial were the end of section quizzes that really helped reinforce what was just read.

    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> Warning <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />

    You may have read that earlier versions of the Betz/Flowers/etc. guide have numerous errors. This hasn't changed. The quizzes are especially prone to mislead. If Kaplan or your own better judgement says one thing and the Flowers says another, go with the former and not the latter. Also, the various sections of bio, chem, o-chem, and physics are not properly indexed, so it is hard to find something specific. I just read it through sequentially a couple of times.

    I would still recommend the book, but be warned.
     
  18. lady bug

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    laviddee, I sent you a PM.
     
  19. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member
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  20. opus

    opus Member
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    I studied the Kaplan book for 2 weeks and got a 35 MCAT. The course was way too expensive plus I felt I had a great undergraduate education.
     
  21. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    36R (11VR, 14PS, 11BS)

    I didn't do any prep. This isn't the best way to go. Having taken the MCAT, I would recommend doing practice tests more than "studying." The material is pretty basic -- being familiar with the test format would be more important, I think.
     
  22. SuzyQ

    SuzyQ Senior Member
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    oh my goodness...i am feeling like such an idiot now. everyone who has posted their scores are awesome. i still hbavent gotten my scores back but i'll be lucky if i get a 28 on the thing.
     
  23. lady bug

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Diogenes:
    <strong>36R (11VR, 14PS, 11BS)

    I didn't do any prep. This isn't the best way to go. Having taken the MCAT, I would recommend doing practice tests more than "studying." The material is pretty basic -- being familiar with the test format would be more important, I think.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">You must be a natural born genius....b/c that score is phenomenal for not studying!
    I'm studying every day, and I'm still not breaking a 30 on my practice tests. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="frown.gif" />
     
  24. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    I agree with Diogenes. Practice seemed more important than studying. I took as many practice tests as I could get my hands on. I used verbal passage practice sections from every type of test prep book that was at my local library (LSAT, GMAT, GRE, VCAT, DAT, OAT, MCAT) and did hundreds of verbal passages. I would check every answer on a practice test to ensure I understood why the correct answer was right. I then reviewed only material I on which I needed help. I think the problem with just flat studying is that it is too easy to spend too much time studying stuff that you already know.
     
  25. Darwin

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    9 weeks - PR. Just did all the passages and attended all the lectures - while working 8 hours a day...so it can be done. Many people who have taken Kaplan and scored well promote Kaplan...those who took PR and scored well promote PR...those who didn't study at all (wow!! what a great score) promote not wasting the money. As was posted by toblerone, the courses set you in a study schedule that is easy to follow if you're disciplined (and they give you that discipline "boot" if you're somewhat lacking in that) But, as an MCAT instructor I can tell you that I tell my students at least 3-5 great memorization techniques and "most-likely" type questions on the MCAT per lecture, so to many this helps out a lot.
    The best evidence I have to go on is the hundreds of students (both personally AND on this board) who have taken both Kaplan and PR and recommend PR for a number of reasons. I'm not going to tell you which one to take...try to find out which, if any, offers the techniques that fit your study habits the best and go with that. You've proven yourself thus far by your own independent work and you're sure to make the right decision here...we're pulling for you and best of luck! (not that you'll need it :))
     
  26. Guitarzan the Jungle Man

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    I got a 40 and actually just took the test cold. In my opinion test prep is way over-rated. Take a few prctice tests and you will understand the test schematics. You know how to take tests just ante up and do it.
     
  27. apocalypse3678

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    hey worriers,
    i got a 43 on the mcat...i got a 20 the first time i took it and a 23 the second time around...isn't that a 43? always providing good advise,
    me
     
  28. analu

    analu Senior Member
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    Kaplan...and I really needed it. Did my prereqs about 11 years before taking the MCAT (August, 2000). Needless to say, I didn't remember SQUAT about molecular orbitals, Hardy-Weinberg, titration problems, etc. Also, in addition to all the full-length tests Kaplan puts its students thru, I did three or four practice tests on my own. Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes PRETTY GOOD.
     
  29. ramkijai

    ramkijai Member
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    i was originally going to take the test "cold" but soon realized that was too easy. so starting three weeks before the exam i began a process of deliberately forgetting all that i knew. i listened to music from britteny spears and n'synch and watched "freddy got fingered" twelve times. by exam day i had only three functioning cortical synapses yet i got above a 33. although others will tell you that i used the berkely review materials (not the course, just the books...as someone earlier said...excellent) and studied for 6 weeks (keep in mind i taught freshman chem and worked in a research lab,took physics six times (former engineer major...many courses like electrostatics simply repeat what is covered in intro physics) and so only really needed to bone up on bio stuff) that is my story and i am sticking to it!
     
  30. sng33

    sng33 Senior Member
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    bump, figured since scores came out might have some more input
     
  31. la9s

    la9s Member
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    I just got my scores and was hoping to help out some people who are taking the exam in August. I took a Kaplan Review course. I found it somewhat difficult to keep up with normal classes and still find time to do the Kaplan material. My Kaplan class attendance was probably in the 30% range. I did take all of the Kaplan practice exams (1-5) and did the PS sections from AAMC #5 and #6. I found that AAMC #6 basically was identical in difficulty to April's exam. Ahh. Do not waste your type prepping for the essay (which Kaplan recommends you do.) I didn't do **** for the essay. My practice test scores were consistently from 33-35 (diagnostic was a 34). I really didn't start to study for the actual MCAT until the week before. What aided me the most was taking Biochemistry. My Biochem class second semester (same semester as the MCAT) was intensely focused on biological problem solving techniques. It helped out TREMENDOUSLY. And I hated the class while taking. My final act the Friday night before was watching the movie "Wonderboys", which I highly recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it. Incidentally, I watched it last night to calm myself down before getting my scores today. I'm very superstitious. So here are the final numbers (I'll give my diag for comparison)

    Kap Diag (V-13, PS-11, BS-10)
    April 2002 MCAT (V-11, PS-12, BS-15) and an R

    Good luck guys in August!
     
  32. ItsGavinC

    Dentist Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    Hey guys -- I'm a predent, but I'm posting for my premed friend who works in a lab with me.

    He got a 40: V-13, PS-13, BS-14.

    He said he got familiar with the format/concepts of the test by doing practice exams, and then used the Kaplan book to study from, supplementing that with his undergrad text books when he felt it necessary. He studied for 3-4 months.

    -G
     
  33. AntGod22

    AntGod22 Senior Member
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    Are there any mortals out there who took this exam. I studied so hard for this and i dont see why i didnt do better then a 20. I do good in school and I study hard thru out the school year. I spent 3 months studying for this and I ahve nothing to show for it. I wish I was liek all of you have gotton 30+. well i guess this whole summer is gone and im gonna have to study everyday atleast 4 hours a day plus all day weekends. And maybe buy that NOVA phsyics book everyone keeps talking about. Well congrats to everyone
     
  34. Bikini Princess

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    I got a 32 (yay!!) and I didn't study much, let alone use a prep course. My understanding is that they are a waste of time. I'll admit the kaplan books are really good though :) especially the little quiz sections at the end of each chapter.
     
  35. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives
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    You "I didn't study" people aren't fooling me <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />

    I took it twice, first time took TPR and felt I could've done better. Second time I went it alone with just the materials and my textbooks from school. Stopped going to work for 6 weeks and studied all day: 3 weeks read the entire TPR texts with some passages, next 3 weeks just practice practice practice. 36S babee. :cool:

    So it would seem that Kaplan's getting a better rep these days?

    ps. If anyone wants to reply to this post or want details re study techniques, please IM me or email. I'm not gonna check this thread again just to see if someone did reply.
     
  36. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bikini Princess:
    <strong>I got a 32 (yay!!) and I didn't study at all, let alone use a prep course. My understanding is that they are a waste of time.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Maybe i've been at work too long but I am unsure if you're joking or not . . . :confused:
     
  37. jot

    jot

    i did well but i have a few bones to pick with kaplan. their materials are sorely in need of a severe revamping, and can sometimes be a misguided waste of effort. but hey, i took it, did well, and have at least a little to thank them for it. i guess if one can take it, you might as well. not optimal though.
    -jot
     
  38. relatively prime

    relatively prime post happy member
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    12V 12P 10B Q

    Kaplan course & 6 PR practice tests & AAMC stuff

    I studied A LOT!!
     
  39. Doctor Octopus

    Doctor Octopus Hospitalist
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    13V 9P 11B Q

    I took Kaplan. Over Christmas break I studied the books and took all of their topical tests except the ones about Physics I hadn't had yet.
    When classes started, I went to those, but they were a waste of time. I got a 5 7 8 on the diagnostic and was totally bummed. But remember, if your scores don't improve, you get your money back...so they make it impossible to get your money back. I took a full length exam every weekend and did practice materials and re-studied the Kaplan books during the week (while taking classes, including Physics II). I took AAMC #1 and #2 first to build confidence. #1 didn't have a scaled score (it was easy) but #2 I got a 32 on.
    I then took Kaplan 6-9 and was again demoralized-I didn't break 25 on any of them. PS was dragging me down. Kaplan #1 I finally got a 30. I scored above 30 on all of the rest of the tests I took. Best I did was a 35 on Kaplan #3. I got 34s on AAMC #5 and #6.

    On the real thing, I did about like I was doing on the AAMC tests. Verbal and Bio were my best, and I was a little weaker in PS.
     
  40. missbonnie

    missbonnie floating
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    10V 12P 12B

    I took examkrackers. THey are only in the NYC area. Also supplemented it with their audio osmosis and the 1001 books. Recommend them highly, especially if u can take their course.
     
  41. bujji13

    bujji13 Senior Member
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    11 VR, 13 PS, 13 BS, P on writing.

    I took the TPR course, and started studying on my own about 2 months before the test. My advice: the course you take does not matter, just take a diagnostic to find out what you are weak in, and always work first and hardest on that stuff. Start off by studying the actual science (ie going thru the review books or old texts), and developing a plan/technique that works for you on the verbal and writing. Then do as many practice passages (timed) and at least 4-5 practice tests before the real thing. Any score is possible on the MCAT if you work at it the right (efficiently, not exhaustively) way, good luck!
     
  42. pocwana

    pocwana MD/MBA candidate c/o 2008
    7+ Year Member

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    bump for mimi :)
     
  43. Wahoo07

    Wahoo07 Senior Member
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    10V 12P 11B

    I studied for about 6 weeks (about 3 hours a day) on my own. I used Kaplan's MCAT comprehensive review book and studied one subject each week. The week of the test was when I started doing practice tests. I did three tests and got a 24, a 30, and a 34 on them. Like everyone has said, the key in doing well on the MCAT is practicing!! I didn't study nearly as hard as I should have but I practiced alot and learned from my mistakes. Anyone can do well on this thing. :) <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
     
  44. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    38-40Q.

    I am very anti-course. I really don't know that I would have gotten anything out of sitting in a class staring at the board for three hours a day. I took three weeks off work, took the first two weeks and went through the Kaplan and TPR study guides, and then the third week, I did all 5 (at that time) AAMC practice tests. Then, on Saturday, I wrote the real MCAT. It worked out great for me.

    That said, if you don't think you can study independently, then a course might be a better option...
     
  45. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by paean:
    <strong>13-15V, 12P, R, 13B.

    Berkeley-Review.com to order books. I went from a 6 on the verbal my first two tests to a 12-15 by the end, and 8s on the science sections to 12-15s on practice tests, and the MCAT reflected those scores. I thought their verbal was great, and the sciences were more comprehensive than anyone else's. I spent a lot of time studying for three months, but it was worth it. And the more in depth science studying than most prep materials makes me feel a lot more confidant about my background for med school.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Serious congrats on not only a great score but an amazing score improvement. Thank good ness you'll never have to take it again.
     

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